Promoting Your Books Using the Internet
Information from Verla Kay’s SCBWI Workshop in LA

Tips from Verla Kay - Children's Author

Picture Book Native App Programs Information

The Creative Penn – Five Biggest Mistakes Writers Make on their Websites

Melissa Donovan’s “The Writing Forward” website. Full of information on writing and good websites from a professional website designer and copywriter.

Melissa also has a website focused on marketing and website design.

A new place on the web to “register” yourself and/or your writing business.

And, of course, my own website and message board

Books by Verla Kay:
Hornbooks & Inkwells (Putnam – July 7, 2011)
Pony Express (Putnam)
Rough, Tough Charley (Tricycle Press)
Gold Fever (Putnam)
Iron Horses (Putnam)

Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails (Putnam)
Tattered Sails (Putnam)
Drummer Boy (Putnam – To be published in summer 2012)

From Mike Jung:

I honestly still think of the online thing in terms of networking and getting to know people, as opposed to marketing my own books.

The main points that I tried to put across in a (recent) talk (I gave)… were partly inspired by Maureen Johnson's internet manifesto from last year ( and partly based on all the things I've been trying to do all along, consciously or unconsciously.

So really, my strategy is as simple as this: only do the online activities you LIKE doing, because if you don't enjoy yourself it'll show.

When interacting with people online, treat them with generosity and respect; be as goofy or creative as you want to be with photos and video, and don't worry too much about how GOOD they are.

Promote other people's work as often as you can; and don't hold back when expressing your love for children's books and the people who make them, because it's not possible to be too enthusiastic about that.

Mike’s book coming soon:
Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities
(Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)

From C.J. (Cynthia) Omololu

My first book is an 'issue' book, which made it easier to align myself with people who have an interest in the issue that my story deals with. While researching hoarding, I got to know some great people in the hoarding community who were great about promoting my book online when it came out.

About the same time my book was released, the hoarding shows started on A&E and TLC which was a fabulous coincidence. I started commenting on the shows on the networks websites and on the Facebook pages for the shows - never promoting my book, just using my knowledge and experiences and getting in on the conversation.

I agree with Mike - the key is to not 'promote' your book as much as it is to reach out and introduce yourself and engage in conversation. People on Twitter and FB are VERY sensitive to 'selling' and it will turn people off quickly.

I've told this story before, but sometimes things happen in roundabout ways. I commented on something that 1800GOTJUNK said on Twitter and he ended up Direct Messaging me when he saw that I'd written a book on hoarding. I sent him a book and he passed it on to some of the people on A&E's Hoarders. I ended up becoming friends with some of the organizers who have passed my book on to many people who have participated on the show. One of them even blurbed the paperback for me. I don't know how many sales that connection has made, but I know that it definitely helped in getting my name out there in the hoarding community.

Social media is like an endless chain and everything you say, good or bad, can have an impact far down the line.

Destined (Walker) - June 2012
Fated (Walker) - Winter 2013
Dirty Little Secrets (Walker) - Feb 2010
When It’s Six O’Clock in San Francisco (Clarion)- July 2009

From Mindy Hardwick

My story is similiar to CynJay’s. My first Young Adult book, "Weaving Magic" (April 2012) is also an issue book...primarily about addiction and recovery.

As a part of the story, my main character's Father is in prison. In face-to-face life, I mentor a young lady through the Volunteers of America Children of Promise Program which matches mentors with kids who have or have had a parent in prison.

When I announced my book sale, I sent an e-mail to the gal who is my match coordinator and program director of the local branch. She immediately sent out a mass e-mail to everyone on her list and that included branches in other cities...WOW! She's turning out to be one of my biggest supporters.

So I'd say it has a lot to do with building community and looking around at the people who you know that will help with the promotion.

Community and connections would be my plug!

Books by Mindy Hardwick:
Weaving Magic--YA Romance, April 2012

From Lisa Schroeder

The last thing people want is to have you sell your books to them like you're a used car salesman.

As others have said, promotion on-line is more about connecting with people. I think it's also about finding a way you can be entertaining or helpful. This is why John Green has been so incredibly successful. His vlogs are entertaining, and much of the time, he's also teaching you something while he's entertaining you.

So ask yourself - what are my strengths? Are you funny? Use that to your advantage! Are you good at teaching? What kinds of things can you teach? These are all things to ask yourself as you think about content you put on-line.

Since I've been at this writing thing for a long time, and now have five, almost six, novels published, I try to do informational as well as inspirational blog posts that other writers will hopefully appreciate. When I tweet a post that others might find helpful, often times, others will retweet it. This is why twitter is SO powerful. A good blog post can find hundreds of readers within minutes. I know, because I've seen it happen. When people go to my blog, they see my published books on the sidebar. They can click the links I have on my site if they want to know more. My blog post brought them to my site - what happens after that is up to them. If they're interested, great, and if not, that's okay too. Maybe they'll remember my name someday when they're in the book store, you never know. Regardless, getting them to my site by being helpful is going to much more effective than trying to cram my books down people's throats.

Books by Lisa Schroeder
I Heart You, You Haunt Me (Simon Pulse)
Far From You (Simon Pulse)
Chasing Brooklyn (Simon Pulse)
The Day Before (Simon Pulse)
It’s Raining Cupcakes (Aladdin)
Sprinkles and Secrets (Aladdin)

From Alison Formento:

My books are selling well because I seek internet exposure outside of the usual writing networks that most writers stick to for promotion. Choose e-zines, bloggers, librarian and teacher sites that are interested in the topics represented in your book. For me, it's been environmental groups, science museums, nature groups, green-sites, and any and all schools and librarians celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day—and that's a lot. I link to American Forests and mentioning this organization whenever I've been interviewed, which led to being contacted and featured in their national magazine. So, that's my main promo tip: It's great to spread the word about your book amongst writer friends, but look for those unique social media connections to share your work and expand your marketability on a national and international level.

Books by Alison Formento:
This Tree Counts!
This Tree, 1, 2, 3
These Bees Count! (2012)
These Seas Count! (2013)

From Kim Baccellia:

Since I'm with two small press publishers I have to use the Internet to get word of my books out there. I have virtual book launches

I also use bloggers to get word of my book out there. I belong to one group of YA (Young Adult) authors who are with small presses, too, since the ones with traditional presses didn't recognize me. I have giveaways on GoodReads, Flamingnet, Teens Read Too, YA Books Central and my blog.

I also did belong to EPIC-which is for those who have ebooks. I also volunteer a lot. I volunteer each year to be a panelist with Cybils’

I belong to
#yalitchat that has a PR part. I also use Twitter, FaceBook, and now Goggle +.

The big thing I realize is you have to get your name out there and be consistent about it. I have a website, too.

And through my reviewing I've been able to make connections with libraries which helps, too.

Books by Kim Baccellia:
Crossed Out (Lachesis Publishing)
No Goddesses Allowed (Zumaya, 2011 – coming soon)
Earrings of Ixtumea (Muse It Up Publishing March 2012)

From Ellen Jackson


1.  Every writer should have a website (or blog).  Try to offer people something useful, instead of making it all about you.  On my website, I have stories, poems, and activities for children.  I also have help for authors and a few tips for parents.  For example, I have an essay on rejection, on how to write dialog, plus Ten Tips for beginning authors.  Evelyn Christensen has made her site a resource for writers of nonfiction books who seek information on the educational market.  Find a unique niche for yourself.

2.  Leave comments on chat boards.  Don’t just promote your books.  Again, try to be genuinely helpful, but always sign your name in the body of the comment, put the name of your book underneath, and then your website URL underneath that.

3.  Review books on Amazon.  In fact, review your competitor’s book and mention what you like about it.  Or add some information that others might like to know about the same topic.  This helps establish you as an authority in the field.  Again, sign your name and add the title of your book underneath your signature.

4.  Go to, a great site for teachers.  Go to the grade level pages and take part in the discussions about lesson plans or tips for teaching various subjects.  Again, your goal is to be helpful.  Don’t always be promoting your book, but it’s fine to sign your suggestions and put the title of your book underneath your signature.  Even if your book is not curriculum related, you can talk about the importance of reading and literacy.  If your book is YA, talk about teen issues.

5.  Volunteer for blog interviews, live chats, and specialty sites that feature content similar to the content of your story or nonfiction book.  Bloggers are always in need of content, and very few will turn you down if you have interesting things to say.

6.  Think of a unique angle, whenever possible.  For example, I’ve created a recipe for each of my books.  I give these away for free on recipe sites and on my website.  Some reference to my book is in every recipe.

7.  Many cable channels and large magazine websites let people comment on their articles.  Try to be first in line with a comment, and sign your name as noted above.  For example, whenever there’s an article on the presidential dog, Bo, I always leave a comment about Lincoln’s dog Fido, and sign my name with the title ABE LINCOLN LOVED ANIMALS (a recent nonfiction book) underneath.

8.  John Kremer the author of 1001 WAYS TO MARKET YOUR BOOK has some good suggestions.  His book is out of date, and some of the advice is contradictory, but I got some good ideas out of it.  There’s an entire chapter in his book on online promotion.

9.  If you're an introvert and just HATE the idea of promotion, make yourself familiar with Shrinking Violets Promotion, here:

10.  Remember–80% of Americans want to write a book.  A good percentage of these people want to write children’s books.  Join the online community of writers and go the extra mile for beginning writers–many of whom are teachers and parents in daily contact with your target audience.

Those are some suggestions that work for me.  I don’t do Twitter and I don’t do Facebook.  I imagine those two resources are invaluable for MG and YA writers.  But I write mostly picture books, so I haven’t found a great need for them.

Books by Ellen Jackson:
The Ballad of Booster Blog
Earth Mother
It’s Back to School We Go!
Cinder Edna
The Mysterious Universe